For history buffs, the town of St Michaels dates back to the mid-1600s when it served as a trading post for area tobacco farmers and trappers. In 1677 the Christ Episcopal Church of St Michael Archangel parish was founded in present day St. Michaels. In 1778 a British land agent, James Braddock, purchased 20 acres and deeded 58 lots. This created St. Mary’s Square, the historic center of St. Michaels. To this day, this charming seaside resort town reflects its colonial past, as many of the area’s homes date from the late 1700s to the late 1800s.
During the War of 1812, St. Michaels gained its name as “the town that fooled the British”. The residents of St. Michaels, having been forewarned that British barges were positioned on the waters to attack with cannon fire, hoisted lanterns into the trees above the city. This first successful “blackout” fooled the British into overshooting the town’s houses and shipyards. Only one house, forever since known as Cannonball House, was struck.
Throughout the 1800s and early 1900s, St. Michaels was a Chesapeake Bay economy focused primarily around the shipbuilding and seafood processing and packing industries. Only in the last 30 years has the economy of St. Michaels shifted to a tourism concentration.
St. Michaels is a treasure on Maryland’s fabled Eastern Shore, about halfway between the Susquehanna source and the Atlantic mouth of the Chesapeake Bay. This vintage harbor port, whose origins date from the birth of the colonies, is nestled on the beautiful Miles River.